Papergirl: A Pedal-Powered Global Street Art Project Comes to Vancouver

A street art project with a difference is set to hit your city

Credit: Papergirl Vancouver

Random acts of artwork on the streets of Vancouver: Papergirl encourages creativity and philanthropy in the city


Papergirl Vancouver, a street art project that combines art, philanthropy and bikes is set to hit the streets of Vancouver at the end of this month.


The concept is relatively simple: submissions for 2D artwork are sought from all over the globe. Artwork is collated and then on August 27th, it will be rolled up, packed on the back of bicycles, pedaled around the city and handed out to surprised passers-by, in a manner reminiscent of old-school paperboys.

Papergirl Vancouver


Become a Papergirl


Exhibition: August 22-26th

Roundhouse Exhibition Hall


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Papergirl began in Berlin in 2005 as a Master’s project. At the time, police were cracking down on graffiti artists. While buskers and musical street performers were thriving, painters, graffiti artists and the like were struggling to find ways to express themselves.


Papergirl was Aisha Ronniger’s answer to the street art problem, providing a way for artists to share their wares in an inclusive manner that wouldn’t get them into trouble with officials.


Since then, cities all around the world, from New York to Portland, Cape Town to Manchester, have followed suit and this month, for the first time, Papergirls will be pedalling the streets of Vancouver.


Check out this video of Berlin’s 4th Papergirl project to see how it works.


Papergirl No.4: 379 Rolls (full of art) from Papergirl on Vimeo.


Art is for anyone and everyone: Papergirl takes elitism out of art and provides a platform for emerging artists

The slogan for Papergirl Vancouver is ‘The Art of Giving Art’, fitting since the entire project is made possible by philanthropy. The project is powered entirely by volunteers, with Alix Büngener, another fabulous girl from Berlin, taking the handlebars.


“I’m in Canada on a year-long work and travel Visa and when the weather started getting shoddy here in Vancouver, I was really bored. So I decided to bring papergirl here,” Alix explains.


Just some of the beautiful creations that will be handed out to lucky (and surprised) Vancouverites. (Image: Papergirl Vancouver)


Papergirl promotes the view that artistic success doesn’t have to be about riches or notoriety. Instead, Papergirl is about encouraging those who have artistic talents to share them with anyone and everyone.


“Art isn’t supposed to be elite,” says Alix. “The idea is to have more original art, and fewer Ikea prints, on everybody’s kitchen walls.” Not only is the project about giving everyone a chance to appreciate original art, it’s also about giving everyone a reason to produce it.


Amateur and professional artists alike are encouraged to send in their artwork. “Papergirl is a perfect platform for new artists just getting established,” says Alix.


Art from the heart: creative types from Vancouver and the rest of the world share with Vancouverites

Submissions closed on August 15th, with Papergirl volunteers greeted with a bulging mailbox full of masterpieces up until the last minute. They’ve received etchings, paintings, prints and photographs from in and around Vancouver, across Canada and from places as far flung as Vienna, Brisbane and the UK.


Alex says the experience has been truly heartwarming. “It’s quite eye-opening to see how generous artists are.”


Papergirl Vancouver has received pieces of art from all over the globe. (Image: Papergirl Vancouver)


They expect to have over 300 pieces to give away and on the 27th (weather permitting) the papergirls (and guys) will take to the streets on their bikes to hand out art to people from all walks of life: cab drivers, people out walking their dogs, tourists, locals, children and businessmen and women.


Where will they be? That’s one thing they won’t share. “The Route is top secret, most of the volunteers don’t even know about it,” says Alix. The whole concept of Papergirl is to surprise people who might not usually seek out art or come in contact with it in their everyday lives.


Don’t want to take your chances? Not to worry, you can check out all the amazing Papergirl Vancouver submissions at the Exhibition Hall at the Roundhouse Community Centre from August 22-26, and if you’re the last minute type, drop by their “meet and make” table and create something for a perfect stranger.